With the 2012 Presidential Election on Tuesday, FedScoop excerpts key quotes from President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney to help provide insight into how each would manage the country going forward.
Here we look at Republican challenger Mitt Romney and his thoughts on four key issues.
On federal spending
Romney said multiple times that he wants to cut five percent of all federal discretionary spending and then do a hard look at all federal programs to see which can be further eliminated.
What things would I cut from spending? Well, first of all, I will eliminate all programs by this test, if they don’t pass it: Is the program so critical it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it? And if not, I’ll get rid of it. Obamacare’s on my list…
Number two, I’ll take programs that are currently good programs but I think could be run more efficiently at the state level and send them to the state.
Number three, I’ll make government more efficient and to cut back the number of employees, combine some agencies and departments. My cutbacks will be done through attrition, by the way.
This is the approach we have to take to get America to a balanced budget.
The president said he’d cut the deficit in half. Unfortunately, he doubled it. Trillion-dollar deficits for the last four years. The president’s put it in place as much public debt, almost as much debt held by the public as al prior presidents combined.
On military spending
Romney said during the third presidential debate that he would not cut military spending.
We don’t know what the world is going to throw at us down the road. We make decisions today in the military will confront challenges we can’t imagine. In the 2000 debates, there was no mention of terrorism, for instance. And a year later, 9/11 happened. So, we have to make decisions based upon uncertainty, and that means a strong military. I will not cut our military budget.
… Our Navy is smaller now than at any time since 1917. The Navy said they needed 313 ships to carry out their mission. We’re now at under 285. We’re headed down to the low 200s if we go through a sequestration. That’s unacceptable to me.
I want to make sure that we have the ships that are required by our Navy. Our Air Force is older and smaller than at any time since it was founded in 1947.
We’ve changed for the first time since FDR. We’ve always had the strategy of saying we could fight in two conflicts at once. Now we’re changing to one conflict. Look, this, in my view, is the highest responsibility of the President of the United States, which is to maintain the safety of the American people.
And I will not cut our military budget by a trillion dollars, which is a combination of the budget cuts the president has, as well as the sequestration cuts. That, in my view, is making our future less certain and less secure.
On the economy
During the debates, Romney laid out a five-point plan that he said will help create 12 million new jobs and lower unemployment numbers back to pre-recession status.
Number one, we are going to have North American energy independence. We’re going to do it by taking full advantage of oil, coal, gas, nuclear and our renewables.
Number two, we’re going to increase our trade. Trade grows about 12 percent year. It doubles about every — every five or so years. We can do better than that, particularly in Latin America. The opportunities for us in Latin America we have just not taken advantage of fully. As a matter of fact, Latin America’s economy is almost as big as the economy of China. We’re all focused on China. Latin America is a huge opportunity for us — time zone, language opportunities.
Number three, we’re going to have to have training programs that work for our workers and schools that finally put the parents and the teachers and the kids first, and the teachers’ unions going to have to go behind.
And then we’re going to have to get to a balanced budget. We can’t expect entrepreneurs and businesses large and small to take their life savings or their company’s money and invest in America if they think we’re headed to the road to Greece. And that’s where we’re going right now unless we finally get off this spending and borrowing binge. And I’ll get us on track to a balanced budget.
And finally, number five, we’ve got to champion small business. Small business is where jobs come from. Two-thirds of our jobs come from small businesses. New business formation is down to the lowest level in 30 years under this administration. I want to bring it back and get back good jobs and rising take-home pay.
On the middle class
Romney said that he wants to find tax cuts for the middle class, but not create any cuts that will add to the federal deficit.
My view is that we ought to provide tax relief to people in the middle class. But I’m not going to reduce the share of taxes paid by high-income people. High-income people are doing just fine in this economy…
The people who are having the hard time right now are middle- income Americans. Under the president’s policies, middle-income Americans have been buried. They’re just being crushed. Middle- income Americans have seen their income come down by $4,300. This is a tax in and of itself. I’ll call it the economy tax. It’s been crushing.
At the same time, gasoline prices have doubled under the president. Electric rates are up. Food prices are up. Health care costs have gone up by $2,500 a family. Middle-income families are being crushed.
And so the question is how to get them going again. And I’ve described it. It’s energy and trade, the right kind of training programs, balancing our budget and helping small business. Those are the cornerstones of my plan.
And finally, with regards to that tax cut, look, I’m not looking to cut massive taxes and to reduce the revenues going to the government. My number-one principal is, there will be no tax cut that adds to the deficit. I want to underline that: no tax cut that adds to the deficit…
But I do want to reduce the burden being paid by middle-income Americans. And to do that, that also means I cannot reduce the burden paid by high-income Americans. So any language to the contrary is simply not accurate.